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Zuckerberg vs. Walters: Libra Hearing Kicks Off Tomorrow

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October 23 will see Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg back in front of the Senate after he was called to answer questions on the Cambridge Analytica data hacking scandal. This time, he will be called to answer questions on his social media company’s foray into cryptocurrency. 

The hearing titled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.” will have Zuckerberg will be the only witness. There are not too many details about what will be discussed, but it noted that Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) had drafted the “Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act.” 

“The draft legislation prohibits large platform utilities, like Facebook, from becoming chartered, licensed or registered as a US financial institution,” the release said, adding:

“The bill also prohibits large platform utilities from establishing, maintaining, or operating a digital asset that is intended to be widely used as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, store of value, or any other similar function as defined by the Federal Reserve.”

Walters was one of the first lawmakers to ounce after Libra was announced. She called for a halt to the development of Libra back in June until more hearings could be held, and the project could be explained to regulators better. 

Since then, Facebook and Libra have taken considerable fire from not only US regulators, but across the globe. France, Germany, India, China, and a number of other nations have pledged that they will not allow Libra to launch in their country. 

This will be the third hearing on Libra, by Congress: the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee. David Marcus testified on the potential benefits of the project at the time but was mostly met with skepticism. 

In Congress, there are already Senators aligning themselves in different camps with Senators Brian Schatz and Sherrod Brown, both members of the Banking Committee, playing a part in scaring off some Libra Association members earlier this month.

However, Libra does have an ally in the shape of Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) who sent his own letter to the remaining Association members urging them to continue innovating for the sake of the US and its advancement technologically. 

Zuckerberg’s testimony will be interesting to witness as the CEO of the parent company Facebook will be more than aware of the difficulties being faced at this time. He will also be aware that many of the regulatory concerns are thinly veiled stabs at Facebook and its issues around data security and past failings.

Darryn Pollock
Darryn has been interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space since he heard about Bitcoin in 2015. He then decided to use his journalism degree to report on this fascinating fintech space in 2016, and has not looked back since.

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